Is Transferring Worth It?

A forum for those current students who are or may be transferring from one school to another. Post any questions, advice, or other transfer related comments here.
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goodgradesgreg

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Is Transferring Worth It?

Post by goodgradesgreg » Sat Jan 09, 2021 2:31 pm

I'm mostly looking for anecdotes/feedback from people that have been in this situation.

I'm a 1L at a T30 school (think Emory/GW/UCI/Fordham). I got my fall grades back recently and somehow managed to hit a 4.2 GPA (highest/second highest grade in multiple classes netted me a few A+). I spoke with a mentor and she said this probably puts me near the top of the class, if not at the top. She mentioned that if if I can pull good grades again this semester I'd be competitive to transfer to HLS or a comparable school, if that's something I'm interested in. Honestly, I don't know if it is; transferring was never something that crossed my mind coming into law school, but now that it's a viable option I find myself thinking about it a lot.

Could anyone who's been in a similar situation and did/did not transfer chime in with their thoughts? I'm really just using TLS as a sounding board to get some disinterested opinions. FWIW, I'm on a half scholarship at my current school, current goals are a federal clerkship > biglaw/bigfed litigation. Location wise, I would be happy practicing around where my current school is located, but I'm also open to starting a new chapter elsewhere (I've never left my home state where my school is located). Last consideration: I am a little bit of an older student, so taking on a ton of extra debt does scare me a bit because I likely won't have it all paid off until I'm well into my 30s.

Thanks ahead of time to anyone who contributes.

Law2019

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Re: Is Transferring Worth It?

Post by Law2019 » Sat Jan 09, 2021 8:30 pm

goodgradesgreg wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 2:31 pm
I'm mostly looking for anecdotes/feedback from people that have been in this situation.

I'm a 1L at a T30 school (think Emory/GW/UCI/Fordham). I got my fall grades back recently and somehow managed to hit a 4.2 GPA (highest/second highest grade in multiple classes netted me a few A+). I spoke with a mentor and she said this probably puts me near the top of the class, if not at the top. She mentioned that if if I can pull good grades again this semester I'd be competitive to transfer to HLS or a comparable school, if that's something I'm interested in. Honestly, I don't know if it is; transferring was never something that crossed my mind coming into law school, but now that it's a viable option I find myself thinking about it a lot.

Could anyone who's been in a similar situation and did/did not transfer chime in with their thoughts? I'm really just using TLS as a sounding board to get some disinterested opinions. FWIW, I'm on a half scholarship at my current school, current goals are a federal clerkship > biglaw/bigfed litigation. Location wise, I would be happy practicing around where my current school is located, but I'm also open to starting a new chapter elsewhere (I've never left my home state where my school is located). Last consideration: I am a little bit of an older student, so taking on a ton of extra debt does scare me a bit because I likely won't have it all paid off until I'm well into my 30s.

Thanks ahead of time to anyone who contributes.
I was in a similar situation as you were—I was about top 5% at one of the schools you mentioned, with an approximately 80% scholarship, and was interested in litigation. I chose to not try to transfer. With your grades at the type of school you are at, it would be a surprise if you do not get biglaw offers. Prestige does matter in some circumstances, but you will be competitive for a clerkship in your current situation (assuming you remain near the top of your class). The way I thought about it was that it was very likely that I was going to get biglaw offers given my school and grades, so why give up my scholarship for a more prestigious degree. And now I have little debt and am not tied to biglaw.

goodgradesgreg

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Re: Is Transferring Worth It?

Post by goodgradesgreg » Tue Jan 12, 2021 2:33 pm

Law2019 wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 8:30 pm
goodgradesgreg wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 2:31 pm
I'm mostly looking for anecdotes/feedback from people that have been in this situation.

I'm a 1L at a T30 school (think Emory/GW/UCI/Fordham). I got my fall grades back recently and somehow managed to hit a 4.2 GPA (highest/second highest grade in multiple classes netted me a few A+). I spoke with a mentor and she said this probably puts me near the top of the class, if not at the top. She mentioned that if if I can pull good grades again this semester I'd be competitive to transfer to HLS or a comparable school, if that's something I'm interested in. Honestly, I don't know if it is; transferring was never something that crossed my mind coming into law school, but now that it's a viable option I find myself thinking about it a lot.

Could anyone who's been in a similar situation and did/did not transfer chime in with their thoughts? I'm really just using TLS as a sounding board to get some disinterested opinions. FWIW, I'm on a half scholarship at my current school, current goals are a federal clerkship > biglaw/bigfed litigation. Location wise, I would be happy practicing around where my current school is located, but I'm also open to starting a new chapter elsewhere (I've never left my home state where my school is located). Last consideration: I am a little bit of an older student, so taking on a ton of extra debt does scare me a bit because I likely won't have it all paid off until I'm well into my 30s.

Thanks ahead of time to anyone who contributes.
I was in a similar situation as you were—I was about top 5% at one of the schools you mentioned, with an approximately 80% scholarship, and was interested in litigation. I chose to not try to transfer. With your grades at the type of school you are at, it would be a surprise if you do not get biglaw offers. Prestige does matter in some circumstances, but you will be competitive for a clerkship in your current situation (assuming you remain near the top of your class). The way I thought about it was that it was very likely that I was going to get biglaw offers given my school and grades, so why give up my scholarship for a more prestigious degree. And now I have little debt and am not tied to biglaw.
Thank you for your input! It's definitely a fortunate position to be in: less debt and great job prospects, or more debt and elite job prospects. Either way I'm sure I'll land on my feet. I found a couple of other students from my 1L school who transferred to HLS who I'll be reaching out to, I'll report back here with their thoughts sometime in the next couple months for posterity.

Goldie

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Re: Is Transferring Worth It?

Post by Goldie » Wed Jan 13, 2021 1:29 am

I was #1 in my class at a ~T30 school at the end of 1L several years ago and made the decision to transfer to HLS. I also was in my home state and was open to staying there forever; I also had a half scholarship; I also was debt conscious. It wasn't an easy decision, but in retrospect I'm glad I transferred.

HLS was more challenging, but I still did quite well there. I've since done two federal appellate clerkships and a year of appellate litigation in a state government agency, and now do appellate litigation at a top DC firm. I also interviewed with the most competitive components through DOJ honors, although I did not ultimately land an offer. Some of this likely would have been possible coming from my 1L school, but my sense is that the doors for the most elite jobs open much more easily once you have HLS on your resume (and especially if you do well there, as do seemingly most transfers who try).

Bottom line, you're lucky to have that choice. A friend of mine at a slightly better school than mine was in a similar position and declined offers from YLS and HLS, and as far as I know he's happy to have stayed. He also did two appellate clerkships, including with a feeder, and ended up in a top career gig at DOJ. So I'm not sure you can go wrong either way.

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